There was a real air of festivity in Tel Aviv’s Hangar 11 as fans filed into the spacious hall, anticipating the entrance of Iranian-born Israeli pop singer Rita. Dressed to the nines, people of all ages gathered for the star’s debut of her new Persian album My Joys. The theme of the evening was clear, due to the predominance of Persian audience members.A nine-person band preceded the main attraction. Each musician played a brief solo, building excitement for the legendary diva’s entrance. Smoke and brightly colored lights illuminated the stage, and Rita appeared wearing a glamorous purple dress.The singer launched the show with hits from her new album. These included “Golhamarim,” “Shanah” and “Golah Shangam.” Afterwards, she included some golden oldies such as “Tzippor Zara” and “Mehaka,” as well as some newer Israeli numbers.The concert began at a slow tempo as Rita, perched on a stool, sang from the bottom of her heart as her profound voice enveloped the hall.The pace later picked up, and Rita invited her fans to get up and join her in front of the stage for a dance. The atmosphere was buzzing at the front of the hall as fans went wild to Rita’s tunes, dancing, singing and clapping along. A middle-aged man threw declarations of love at the 49-year-old who, it must be noted, looked fabulous.The band, composed of very talented musicians, wowed the audience throughout the show, at times also providing vocal back-up. A guest of the band, banjoist Mark Eliyahu, put in an extraordinary performance, strumming with gusto and contributing a special vibe to the musical ensemble.Rita infused the evening with stories from her childhood in Iran, emphasizing the inspiration for the new album – getting back to her roots. “I’m so excited to bring you into this world of sounds and colors,” she cooed to the crowd, describing the Persian language as “spectacular.” With a splash of self-deprecation she added, “Yes, it has its dramatic elements, but at least I’m not dramatic!” For an energetic finale, Rita emerged in a white dress, gratifying the audience’s cheers for an encore. She wrapped up the concert with fast-paced hits – “Yemei Hatom,” “Dai Lichov,” and “Yeladim Ze Simcha – that raised the entire audience to their feet. It was an uplifting celebration of Persian heritage, culture, language and music.